YouTube Plus MGM: Unimpressive

Artwork: Chip Taylor
YouTube began building its full-length streaming movie stronghold today, announcing a partnership between the Google-owned company and MGM Studios.

Late last week rumors flew about when and which movie studios would start offering content on the video Website. MGM Studios was the first on board with ten-year-old episodes of "American Gladiators" and a baby-sized handful of films, including "Legally Blonde" and "Bulletproof Monk."

Though the announcement is exciting in that more studios are likely to come fast on MGM's heels, the initial offerings are less than enticing; in fact, they're depressing.

The big unaddressed issue? Quality of the videos. YouTube's main competitor for streaming movies, Hulu, has a history of posting quality content via exclusive partnerships. While YouTube may grab some hot tickets as time goes on, the implementation will be little more than worthless if the streaming quality on YouTube does not increase exponentially. (Maybe MGM is trying ensure we keep buying DVDs).

MGM co-president Jim Packer seems to agree. Packer told the New York Times that MGM is starting out slowly with YouTube, but doesn't feel it is the platform to have a vast catalog. "I feel much more comfortable doing that on a site like Hulu," Packer said.

It's not a good sign when MGM itself doesn't sound psyched.

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